Volunteering with local schools
We are constantly informed in the news about the shortfall in funding many state schools are suffering. Many are turning to parents for additional support, or looking for additional ways to stretch their resources, for example from volunteers.
Through a range of volunteering opportunities offered to Trinity students throughout the academic year, the School hopes to support the work of the local primary and secondary schools, alleviating some of the pressures they may be facing.
Volunteering opportunities are offered through one of two mechanisms:
- Field Day: one day a term where older students spend the day volunteering locally
- Sixth Form Diploma: six weeks each for the Lower and Upper Sixth students spending one afternoon a week volunteering locally.
There are two main aims of this work:
1. To support an improvement in the educational outcomes for primary and secondary children in the local community.
2. To provide an opportunity for Trinity Students to ‘give back’ to their local community, and to grow their listening and communication skills, their confidence and to be more socially integrated.
The immediate beneficiaries are the children attending local schools, along with the staff schools whose time can be freed to deal with other pressures. Secondary to this is the longer term benefit the schools may achieve from the support they receive from us. With continued input from outside sources, the schools should start to see improvements in their exam scores and rankings, and while this could never be attributed directly to the input from Trinity, it is important for our students to know what small part they are playing in the future of these children.
Trinity School has long-standing relationships (ten+ years) with a number of schools in the local area who accept our students to support their own educational goals. As our own volunteering programmes grow, we are constantly researching the local area to assess whether there are more opportunities to support those schools who would most benefit from it.
The Head of Community Action manages relationships with the named schools and is responsible for the arrangements for placements during both Field Days and Sixth Form Diploma sessions.
The Director of Co-Curricular Activities oversees Field Days in their entirety, with volunteering forming part of the day for two year groups.
Claire worked closely with the Head of Diploma regarding all sixth form placements: the volunteering aspect forms just one element of the Diploma.
Other members of teaching staff are involved during the volunteering placements. For Field Days, students are accompanied by 1-3 members of staff, depending on the size of group.
In Sixth Form, students are not accompanied to placements by staff, and the additional staff involvement is limited to the registration of students before going offsite. This is five teaching staff for approximately 30 minutes each week.
The costs associated with any of the placements are either for Field Days if additional minibuses have to be hired, or for Sixth Form volunteering, the payment of minibus drivers. For each year this is a cost of £200-£300.
Additionally, a number of schools now require us to carry out DBS checks on those Sixth Form students joining them for the six week programmes. In 2018-19 12 students were required to undertake the DBS applications at a total cost of £72 (we receive a discounted rate because the students are volunteering).
In 2018-19, a total of 507 placements were undertaken as part of the three Field Days. 179 of these placements were with the organisations listed above.
In 2018-19, a total of 109 placements were undertaken as part of the Sixth Form Diploma. 42 of these were in the organisations listed above.
Based on these numbers, the 2018-19 academic year saw 36% of or placements being fulfilled at the organisations listed above who are all working in primary and secondary education.
Most of our impact can be shown by feedback that is received from placements during and after the event:
"Your sixth formers were an absolute pleasure to have with us and the children. They were so interested in their learning and spending time with them. Well-mannered and an absolute credit to your school.
I hope that we will always be able to maintain the strong link that we have with you."
“We were very impressed with Y10 [name removed], who interacted with our autistic students extremely well - and was kind and patient with them. He also worked very hard. A real credit to the school.”
“Thank you so much on behalf of the staff and Year 5 pupils at Woodside Academy for a magnificent day last Friday. Report evaluations had to be changed as some of the pupils wanted to put this trip down as their favourite trip all year! Our pupils (staff and helpers!) enjoyed all the activities which challenged and amazed them. Your boys were a credit to the school as well. One of our pupils commented on how politely and respectfully the boys spoke to them. Please thank all the staff who were involved, they certainly made it a memorable day for everyone. I hope this is a tradition that will continue.”
Volunteering placements are arranged for students as follows:
Autumn and Spring Terms: Years 10 and 11 (age 14-16)
Summer Term: Years 9 and 10 (age 13-15)
Sixth Form volunteering is undertaken by 16-18 year olds.
All programmes are repeated annually, with frequency differing between each type of placement as follows.
For Field Days:
One full day at each school each term
Sixth Form volunteering:
Six afternoons in the Autumn Term (Lower Sixth) and six afternoons in the Spring Term (Upper Sixth)
As each of our activities are built into the timetable, the frequency we work with each individual school will be dependent on other activities they have taking place on those dates. For example, we do not work with Oasis Shirley Park in the Spring Term for Sixth Form volunteering because they have their exam period at the same time.